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NYC Gift Shops Mix Business With Politics, Sometimes at a Price

(Photo via @lockwoodshop on Instagram)

Since it opened in 2017, Lockwood Paper has stocked political-themed cards and trinkets alongside the usual greeting, Get Well Soon, and holiday cards. Walk into the Astoria stationery shop today and you might find a scented candle that claims to smell like “Is it over yet?”—a reference both to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly high-stress political battleground in the U.S. There are items bearing an image of Kamala Harris with the phrase “Stay Nasty,” and “2020” stickers printed with a cartoon-style rendering of a dumpster fire—a best-selling graphic across products ranging from birthday cards to tea towels. More →

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Praying For Our Nation On Election Day? So Are These Churches

Old First Reform Church in Brooklyn. (Photo: Maureen Doyle) 

As people across the country brace for what could be an agonizing night of slow election returns followed by post-election pandemonium, churches are stepping in to offer moments of quiet prayer.  

It’s perhaps not even worth mentioning that this year’s election is different from any that have come before. Not only are we living under a president who refuses to say that he will peacefully concede should he lose, we are also facing unprecedented logistical challenges. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, states are seeing historically high levels of mail-in ballots, which take longer to count than in-person ballots. There’s a good chance we won’t even have election results by election night. All this to say, there’s a lot of uncertainty at an already stressful time. Responding to the anxieties of their communities, churches are offering their constituents a safe haven. More →

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Costume Stores Say Halloween Shoppers Haven’t Been Scared Off

A last-minute shopper visits the Halloween Adventure Shop. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Just one day before Halloween, there’s a bit of a frenzy inside the Halloween Adventure Shop on 4th Avenue. Customers walk in carrying sopping wet umbrellas, and they leave behind their slippery footprints. Inside, they shuffle around the store, some selecting the final touches to their costumes, others still looking for inspiration as they browse the wall of wigs.  More →

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‘The Music Elevates the Purpose’: The Blacksmiths Band Together For Racial Justice

Russell Hall and Michela Marino Lerman leaving Washington Square Park at a DSA musicians’ march in support of BLM on June 29, 2020. (Photo: Reuben Radding)

As the problems of America incited protests across America, the streets of New York City became well worn by those demanding more for their country. Shouts and chants weren’t the only sounds comprising the din of the city’s demonstrations. There was a marching band, jazz trio, vocalist, string orchestra, and tap dancer heard within these movements, and they are a movement unto themselves—they are The Blacksmiths.  More →

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Once Again, an East Village Vintage Shop Tries to Avoid Becoming a Relic

It takes about 30 seconds to walk through the shoe-box-sized space that houses Honeymoon Antiques on 6th Street, but owner David Brockman, 60, has managed to fit hundreds of clothing items onto the racks. At each step, you can feel the chiffon, lace, and silk brush against your arms. And when you speak to David, the inside of the store sways from feeling cramped to cozy. More →

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Skate Scene Ramps Up in Tompkins Square Park, But Is the City On Board?

Tyson McGrew at TF. (Photo: Ari Adams)

On any given day at around 10  a.m., skateboarders slowly begin to trickle in and out of the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park.  By around 4 p.m., the corner is bustling with young people skating, socializing, and quite often smoking marijuana.  The flat, rectangular piece of asphalt which regulars refer to as TF (short for Training Facility) has long been a home to both the East Village’s most seasoned and newest skateboarders.  Last year, the skateboarders at TF—with the help of an online petition—successfully battled the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation over a proposed plan to fill in the asphalt lot with AstroTurf.  This summer, improvements were made to the space after three ramps were donated by the skateboard and fashion company Supreme.  While many skateboarders are under the assumption that the ramps are permanent additions to TF, the Parks Department has different views on the matter.  More →

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How a Brooklyn Couple Started Running a French Bakery Out of Their Apartment

(Photos via @l’appartement4f)

Americans have long obsessed over the French way of life: the blasé attitude, classic style, and, most importantly, the bread and butter. Newlyweds Gautier Coiffard and Ashley Breest have given New York City another bakery to drool over. The difference, though, is that their shop is based entirely in their Cobble Hill apartment, you can only order through Instagram, and they started the business as a side hustle during the pandemic. More →